Friday, June 24, 2011

Craft Show

Today I went to the craft show with miss_fee and her delightful friend Gracie.

We looked at sock-monkeys, buttons, patterns, craft supplies, material, scarves and of course yarn.

I picked up sock yarn, hemp and Quivik Silk from Prudence Mapstone, silk top from Kaalund, some gorgeous grey Slub from Dairing and some linen pieces as well.

All this and home before lunch!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sydney Film Festival: Farewell Clare Stewart

The 2011 Festival brings to a close the five year tenure of Clare Stewart as Festival Director.

It has been an era of change with Clare extending the focus of the festival to single ticket holders and implementing the very successful Competitions. As a subscriber these changes may have reduced my personal menu at each festival but increased it's breadth by providing a wider range of experiences. I have even learned to love my new subscriber home in the Mezz instead of the Dress Circle.

The competitions in particular have bought a range of new generation films - some not to my taste - but that is what the festival is all about seeing new cinema. There has also been a revival of the festival with Sydney - many people are taking in screenings and other events associated with festival.

We have noted her style and wardrobe favorites (great boots) and have greatly appreciated an evolution of her presentation style with a more engaged and less confrontational approach with the audience. In addition your moderation of Q & A's kept the nonsense questions at bay.

Clare you have steered the festival well helping to keep it afloat when financial difficulties arose and saving I from obscurity. Good luck on your new journey.

Here's hoping the next director is as brave and creative!

Sydney Film Festival Day 11: The Guard

Brendan Gleeson stars as a relaxed small town Irish cop who my have a flexible relationship to the law when it comes to his community and personal life but has a heart when it counts.

His life is turned to chaos when the FBI comes to town in a magic performance by Don Cheadle who is on the trail of drug-traffickers.

A great comedy that slowed only in the first quarter but with enough smarts to make you question a few events in hindsight. A Great Saurday night film!

Sydney Film Festival Day 11: Toomelah

Ivan Sen's Beneath Clouds had me expecting much from this his third feature.

Ambitiously the story was written based on the people and experiences of Sen's mothers community Toomelah. He then used the community to perform in this dramatic production. Following the story of Daniel a young kid whose alcoholic father is mostly absent and whose mother sends him off to the mission drug-dealer for her supply. Daniel seeks friendship with the drug-dealers gang.

The gang is challenged when a rival dealer returns following a stint in prison.

The film would perhaps have been more successful as a documentary showing a frank and bleak picture of daily life it lacks emotional connection.

Sydney Film Festival Day 9: Norwegian Wood

The film is visually stunning full of gorgeous soft shots a totally dreamy endless Japanese winter. The film fails to capture the angst and thrall of the novel but more deeply disappointing was it failed to maintain my interest.

Sadly It failed to live up to my expectations

Sydney Film Festival Day 10: Jane Eyre

Do we need another remake of Jane Eyre - if it's this good yes.

Mia Waiskowski is perfectly pitched as Jane, matched with brave and deliberate editorial decisions by Fukunaga.

Opening with Jane wandering the moors the film is quickly engaging and uses her childhood as back story. Both Michael Fassbender as Rochester and Judi Dench as the housekeeper Mrs Fairfax are spectacular.

The film casts a strong spell and holds you till the end embodying the book and giving us a different vision.

I am a sucker for a good adaptation and this film delivers.

Sydney Film Festival Day 10: Take Shelter

Take Shelter is a brilliantly crafted thriller that is made so by a stunning performance from Michael Shannon.

Curtis LaForche (Shannon) is a working class guy from middle America his dreams become increasingly ominous and disturbing, eventually becoming daydreams as well. with a family history of mental illness he is concerned that he is following his mother's path.

The films soundtrack and vision is captivating and enthralling a brilliant piece that I felt was left down by it's cop-out ending.

Sydney Film Festival Day 8: Cairo 678

A film that tackles a taboo subject in the middle east is always going to be a festival drawcard.

The film is a strong piece that transcends the necessary message and engages you with a brilliantly developed group of characters.

Sexual harassment is rife in Egypt, only no-one reports it as it will bring shame to them and their family. Three women from different walks of life face sexual harassment in their day and the film shows how each deals with it. Inevitably they come together as a group and the outcome is played out with a brilliantly rendered detective investigating a series of revenge assaults.

Rendered with the right blend of humour and sensibilities Cairo 678 is a great film on it's own, but obviously a film that Egypt had to have.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sydney Film Festival Day 7: The Tree of Life

Wow this film is amazing.

Visually stunning and the sound and the score are powerful.

The film shows glimpses of a remembered family life in the 50's birth, 3 sons playing, fights and the family hearing of the death of one son, more glimpses of one of the brothers looking back for memories that then involves a section that appears to show evolution of the earth and various creatures and then more family.

Dreamlike sequences of seraching the desert and then a coastline that appears to now emphasise more strongly the religious theme embodied by the mother.

The film is dazzling, stunning, confusing and ridiculous. Overly long and a complete overload for the senses.

Attempts to make sense of this film are I believe futile.
Worth seeing yes, expect to be confounded, elated and disappointed.

Sydney Film Festival Day 6: A Separation

An Iranian film of depth and colour. From the opening sequences you are immeresed in a legal dispute. Simin and Nader are seeking a divorce, Simin wants to immigrate with their daughter and Nader is committed to caring for his father who is suffering from Alzheimers. When they are not granted the divorce and told to work it out Simin moves out of the family home and Nader is forced to bring in a carer the outcomes of which embroil them in another legal battle.

The strength of this film is the passion, anger and disappointment are so real you completely forget this is a film. You are frustrated at the unfamiliar laws and the continued conflicts in everyones lives and keep watchin in the hope a resolution can be found. A brilliant touch is the action is allowed to unfold and slowly then the camera will show you one of the two children and you realise they are witnessing their parents behaviour and judging them.


Sydney Film Festival Day 6: Project Nim

Project Nim charts the story of a chimpanzee that is seperated from its mother quite early and reared with humans to see if it will be able to learn to communicate independently using sign-language. During this the film examines the structure of scientific experiments, the impact of environment (house vs classroom) and the ethics of the individuals involved. It highlights the escape of Nim's chimpanzee nature that was unexpected by his teachers and handlers.

This film is a well constructed emotionally engaging piece of filmaking that will introduce a whole generation to the ills of using animals for experiments and the ethics of their treatment before, after and around that fact. As an avid watcher of nature films, specifically those from the seventies, I am not sure this film had anything new to say. Enthralling nonetheless.

I was surprised at the handful of children that were in the audience - firstly as the film festival is strictly over 18s unless specifically identified as a childrens film and secondly as this was really not a child suitable film. Unfortunately the little girl sitting closest to us was quite distressed.

Sydney Film Festival Day 6: Amador

Marcela is a south American immigrant living in Spain with her boyfriend Nelson making money from selling stolen flowers. As she is in the process of leaving him she faints and after being taken to hospital is informed that she is pregnant. She reluctantly returns to her boyfriend to work out what to do. Their refridgerator dies and the urgent need for a replacement sends Marcela out looking for work.

She interviews with a disinterested woman who is looking for someone to look after her aging, ailing father while they build a family house outside the city. He dies early on and Marcela is forced to make a series of decisions.

I found this film was easy to suspend disbelief and follow Marcela through her decisions, the first of which comes easily, but leads to many more complicated ones. The film was blackly funny and an engaging watch.

Fernando Leon de Aranoa the director was delightful in the Q&A and he and and his (very small) entourage were sitting in my row during the screening of Tree of Life last night. Lets just say an interesting experience.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sydney Film Festival Day 5: Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids is a conventional comedy in the tradition of boy-man lead character.

John C Reilly replays his annoying character stance -this time with a heart.
A good laugh but definitely a fish out of water film a the festival.

It does include a few extra laughs for fans of The Wire.

Sydney Film Festival Day 5: The Forgiveness of Blood

Opening with a group of teenagers, the film quickly establishes Albanian teens are no different to others interested in Facebook, computer games attracting girls/guys.

The beauty of this film is that it is told exclusively through the eyes of the teenage son Nik and daughter Rudina. When their father Mark's animosity with a neighbor escalates and results in death a blood feud with the victims family ensues.

The father flees into hiding and according to tradition the older males of the family become a target. Nik is now forced into self-managed home imprisonment. His younger brother and sister are also kept at home. His sister Rudina is sent out to maintain the bread run and the family income.

The impact the prolonged life threatening house-arrest of Nik is played out invoking fear, claustrophobia, and frustration contrasted with the growing courage and creativity of Rudina finding additional ways to supplement the family income.the ending is refreshing and believable.

A totally gripping and perfectly pitched emotionally engaging film.

Sydney Film Festival Day 5: Tabloid

Errol Morris' documentaries extract stories from individuals and appear to leave the audience to judge. Of course, this is deceptive, as editing and graphics will influence your opinion.

The beauty of Tabloid is that truth in this case is unbelievably stranger than fiction. The Mormon kidnapping sex scandal of the sixties coupled with the clone my super dog story is mind-blowing in its perfect insanity.

Taking advantage of the lost, stolen and destroyed evidence the film is reduced to he-said, she-said and you are left to choose just what is the truth!

Entertaining for every minute Tabloid is a must see for documentary lovers.

Sydney Film Festival Day 5: The Target

A beautifully and elaborately constructed first hour introduces the key characters - a government resources minister, his wife and her tv host brother and their high tech, fast-paced entertainment and gambling hungry society.

The key characters seek out "The Target" a leftover experiment from the decay of the Soviet Union that produces a fountain of youth effect. The remainder of the film deals with the after effects - a descent into chaos, extremes and madness and for 2 hopefully an escape and a reunion in the future.

The film itself is visually stunning and the first hour provides much to enjoy, the remaining hour and a half is shambolic and confusing filled with homages to a range o film makers. At well over 2 hours the film is also uncomfortably long and could have benefited from a stronger focus and editing in the second half.

Definitely a film you would only see at the festival

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sydney Film Festival Day 4: Even The Rain

A passionate film crew go to Bolivia to shoot a film about the Spanish invasion and colonisation of South America and the subsequent Indian uprising.

The locals are caught up in a struggle with an international corporate Water company about access to affordable water.

As beliefs and integrity are questioned the film and the film within a film gallop to their inevitable conclusion forcing the film- makers to work out what they would do in that situation.

Engaging and powerful!

Sydney Film Festival Day 4: The Future

Another film with a split audience reaction.

A 30 something couple are set to adopt an injured cat and are given month before they have to return to the shelter to pick it up.

This event spurs them to realize they are almost at the end of their lives and are not doing what they really want if only they new what it was.

Told with whimsy and humour and interspersed with narrative blocks from Paw Paw ( the cat waiting to be collected). The film is a different twist on the angst of adulthood, responsibility and being a grown up.

I loved it but many didn't.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sydney Film Festival Day 4

Today's Films

The Future and Even The Rainy

Waltzing Matilda & Happy Birthday played by 940 saxophonists

Laurel Tam/Beret in Malabrigo Worsted for World Wide Knit in Public Day Part 1

Sydney Film Festival Day 3: POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

Spurlock returns with another playful yet serious documentary. What worked for Supersize Me but didn't for Where is Osama bin Laden works again in this case.

You can't help but laugh as he attempts to not sell out whilst selling every aspect of his film. Hide ability to question his own integrity whilst driving mini-coopers, drinking only POM: Wonderful and

It is really no surprise in this advertising savvy society that everything in film is for sale for a price. True moments of insight come from brand power brokers who can shut down a film that might be adversely representing a brand and the city of Sao Paulo Brazil which has banned all outdoor advertising - it looks amazing!! A new campaign for Get-Up perhaps.

Interviews with directors like Tarrantino and Peter Berg are matter of fact and entertaining whilst admitting that brand and placement is just par for the course these days.

The best moments come when the brands let Spurlock's team are left to their own devices. humor abounds. No shocks but Noti a bad few hours in the cinema.

Sydney Film Festival Day 3: Sleeping Beauty

So how to describe this film. Let's start with opinions were divided, completely and utterly divided.

The film is being hailed as cutting edge and courageous, sorry I just don't see it. A self-involved, self-contained university student with a penchant for risky activities who seems to be willing to do anything ( established early with science experiments, a cafe closing, an office and a bar scene) is the main character.

It follows her slowly increasing involvement with a new employer where she graduates from lingerie waitress at private dinner parties to Sleeping Beauty, where drugged she sleeps through encounters with men (there is a rule for her protection).

A series of random events about a young woman exposing herself to exploitation that offers no insights. Disappointing and to be honest if a man made it we would probably be protesting in the streets.

Some fine performances and the detail built into each scene is not enough to rescue this film from its lack of direction.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sydney Film Festival Day 3 ( my day 2)

Today's Films

Sleeping Beauty that met with much controversy and criticism at Cannes followed by Pom Wonderful Presents: the greatest movie ever sold by Super Size Me director Morgan Spurlock. An exploration of product placement, brand promotion and sponsorship in film done his way!

Festival Companion - Drk


Kaffe Fassett stripy socks -sock 2

Selected Music
The Cure - just Like Heaven
Mark Seymour - Home Again
Michael Franti - Everyone Deserves Music

Reviews for my first day are up!

Sydney Film Festival Day 2: Sing Your Song

Sing Your Song commences with a series of quickly flashing jarring images of suffering, protests and confrontation, both a wake-up call and a glimpse of what is to come.

The film is essentially a personal account of Henry Belafonte's lifelong activism as he pursues freedom and equality. The personal costs of this, the break-down of two marriages, are treated matter-of-factly and with dignity. His children speak lovingly and respectfully of his work.

The film chronicles his post-war personal stands against segregation, his work in the freedom movement of the sixties, his passion and involvement in Africa and Haiti. Interviews with other celebrities and fellow activists are touching and detailed.

The music is there but it's secondary to his true purpose!

The strength, determination and single-mindedness are clearly evident and inspirational. At 80, when he is clearly entitled to put his feet up, he continues to work running workshops for the elders and then the young addressing the growing incarceration problem in the U.S.

Much of the films sequences are topped and tailed by Monologues by Belafonte talking direct to camera ( an implied but not heard interviewer), indulgent- probably but at his age with his history entirely forgivable.

Highlights include the trip to Mississippi with Sidney Portier to deliver $60000 cash during the Freedom Summer, his ongoing relationship with Nelson Mandela, and footage of an 80's trip to Ethiopia coupled with current interviews of their companions ( watch for the doctor that travelled with them - still moved to tears over 20 years later).

A long film but a moving one showing Belafonte's unwillingness to put his feet up when there is still work to be done!

Sydney Film Festival Day 2: Attenberg

Attenberg follows the story of a 23 year old woman in an unattractive, industrial seaside town in Greece. Dealing with her fathers steadily declining health and her own limited experience.

The lead actress is convincingly emotionally detached and heart-breakingly awkward. Small near perfect Moments of sweetness, family connection and humour are drowned out by long drawn out sequences, incoherent segments and a hundred other mediocre ideas all given a share of time.


Note: There are a series of scenes where the lead character and her best friend walk endlessly back and forward imitating animals. They where the same dresses that apart from colour are perfectly matched. great care has been taken to match their heights with slightly different boots, the finishing point of the boots and the dress length ( a detail noted for Miss Fee!!). At no other point in the film did the lead actress on anything other than jeans, shirt and jumper. Bizarre and distracting

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sydney Film Festival Day 1 Coming Up

Films Today

Attenberg from Greece with a character who adores Attenborough documentaries and lives a relatively isolated life.

Sing Your Song a doco about Harry Belafonte - so some great music

Festival Companion - Gab


Kaffe Fassett stripy socks -sock 2

Selected Music
The Herd - Sum of it All
Billy Bragg - I Keep Faith
Jebediah - Harpoon

I will try to keep up with the reviews!

Preparing for The Sydney Film Festival

Festival Guide - check
Passes - check
Snacks - check
Companions identified and meetings organized - in progress
Knitting - no idea!!!

My thoughts turn to what knitting to take

I learnt last year that trying to knit a big project is madness. It needs to be socks - but which ones. I should be working on the S62011 ......

Watch this space

Monday, June 6, 2011

Film Festival Survival Guide - Subscriber Style

Inspired by Scott Henderson's Festival Ninja's guide over at The vine I thought I should put together mine.

As a subscriber i do manage to avoid a lot of the dashing between venues but here goes

  • Caffeine is both your friend and your enemy. Manage your intake so you still get a decent amount of sleep. Limit your intake or cut right back after 6:30pm

  • For long haul days ( 4 or even 5 films) soup, preferably homemade, and fresh bread are a godsend. A thermos full of tea or coffee is a good investment too.

  • Know your terrain - from the State Theatre identify quick and easy food runs, sit down for coffee/tea or even drink locations (i like them quiet!).

  • Fun Size chocolates are a great and convenient snack. Not too much sugar but enough to get you between a couple of movies.

  • Water, Water, Water always take water with you.

  • Bathrooms can be difficult to get to because of the way them move people in and out of venues. Know where they are and plan to use them.

  • Schedules - Competition films and sold out films will make getting into the theatre a little more of a challenge. Red Carpets take up a heap of space and will drive you to the George Street end of Market Street. Be aware of sold-out films and give yourself some extra time to get into the cinema.

Hope you enjoy your festival experience.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Moving Right Along

The last few weeks have been about mainly one thing moving our office culminating in a few very long work days over last weekend.

I have compensated for the lack of knitting time with some shopping (online).

I bought some brooches off etsy (below as pendants) and they are really great.

I have also bought an insane amount of yarn.
* Cascade 220 with Miss Fee
* Old Maiden Aunt Alpaca Silk (inspired by Lyns)
* Madelinetosh Eyre Light in Tart
* Madelinetosh Alpaca Sport in Iris
* Bendigo Luxury in Black
* Rowan Felted Tweed

Now I am trying to work out how to fit knitting in around work and the film festival. Starting in 3 days.